Calbee Chocolate Sticks

Calbee Chocolate Sticks

I do not know where to start describing these, except to say I hated them.

Calbee is a Japanese firm famous for crispy potato snacks, many varieties of which are sold in small pouches or tubs like this. I rather like the ‘normal’ chipsticks, which are salty and crunchy, speckled with bits of vegetable so you could almost imagine they are good for you.

These are another story, however, and from the artwork on the tub may well be a Valentine’s Day special for this year. Although I am not quite sure what I was expecting, it certainly wasn’t this – they have a strong chocolatey taste and smell, but still manage to be salty and potatoey at the same time.

It is a disconcerting combination, and for someone who does not like mixing sweet and savoury, not at all pleasant. But I have Asian friends who think nothing of alternating bites of cake and curry, so presumably they are the sort of customers that Calbee hope will be wolfing down these treats.

I shall just chalk them down to experience and never buy them again!

Pot Potato and Pasta

pot 1 pot 2 pot 8

These caught my eye as I was in the 7-11 the other day, and they seemed unusual enough to try. Daughters #1 and #2 are pretty keen on instant noodles (they are students, so let’s cut them some slack…) and this is clearly a variation on the theme. You pour in boiling water and stir, leave for a few minutes then tuck in. Instant, if not terribly healthy, hot snack.

Ok, let’s not pretend. There is no way I was ever going to rave about these. But I am always willing to sample something a bit different, and gave them my best shot. So, where to begin?

Well, the mash was awful. For a start, it strikes me as slightly odd to offer a pot of mash with bits of vegetable as a complete snack – mash cries out to be paired with something like sausages or roast chicken, rather than eaten on its own. That aside, this smelled and tasted strongly of whatever artificial additive is currently in use to mimic butter. I really did not like this and 99% of it went in the bin.

The pasta version was marginally better, despite having nothing but green specks instead of the promised broccoli. But the pasta itself was properly cooked by the hot water, and the sauce was ok if not especially great. It bore very little resemblance to a ‘real’ pasta meal, but I did eat it, and would probably be glad of another if I was on a camping trip.

Both products were heavily seasoned, so had a lot more taste than I was expecting (even if I did not really like that taste). And in the 7-11 you can actually heat things like this up and eat them on the spot, for an instant, budget snack.

Here in Singapore, this looks like Swiss food manufacturers Nestle, under the Maggi brand, are attempting to tap into the massive local market for ‘pot’ noodles. At only S$2.20 per pot, this is probably a cool new thing to try if you are an Asian teenager, so I wish them luck!

pot 5 pot 9 pot 10